By Mark John
LONDON (Reuters) - Global executives see a smaller hit to their investment plans for Europe than they did earlier this year and are somewhat more upbeat about the continent's future appeal, a questionnaire by professional services group EY found.
The survey, conducted in October before a series of COVID-19 vaccine trial breakthroughs, showed that 42% of executives now expect a decrease in their 2020 investment plans and 31% plan to delay them to 2021.
That compared with 66% who expected decreases and 23% who saw delays when asked the same question back in April. This time around, a small number - 10% - even saw an increase to their 2020 investments, something no one did in April.
While that still means a big overall hit to foreign direct investment after 2019's record year, EY noted that 21% of those surveyed believed Europe would be more attractive for investment post-Covid compared to just 8% in April.
"It is promising that investors believe that over the next three years, Europe will become a much more attractive destination for investments than before pandemic," EY Area Managing Partner Julie Teigland said.
The findings were based on interviews with 109 global executives across 14 industries in October.
Upbeat news from vaccine trials are starting to support economic sentiment. The monthly eurozone Purchase Managers Index (PMI) for November saw a rise in its "future output" component in November to its highest level since February.
Among the other takeaways from the EY survey, 63% expected faster roll-out of digital customer access to surveys in the next three years (versus 55% in April) but only 37% now saw a reversal of globalisation (versus 56%).
(Reporting by Mark John, editing by Ed Osmond)